A man collapsed on the floor with a My Melody plush in his right arm and his left arm slit all the way down. Painted in his own blood behind him is a doorway to Hello Kitty's magical world.
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When I was little, one of my special treasures was a Sanrio perfume pendant I got on a trip to FAO Schwarz in Manhattan. My memory about the details is foggy. The Sanrio perfume pendants were produced in a few different shapes and character selections. I feel like mine was a Little Twin Stars heart, but I haven't found any pictures of a perfume pendant that matches that - they're either Little Twin Stars or a heart, but not both. What I know for sure is that it was adorable, it reminded me of a day I got to feel like a valuable person, and it also smelled incredibly pretty. I lost it, probably in a move or maybe stolen at school.

Some years later, I found another perfume pendant at a Sanrio store. This one was definitely a Hello Kitty heart. I bought it immediately. The character may or may not have been different, but the perfume was the same. I was excited to have it back. But this time, I broke the stopper inside the bottle and the perfume vaporized. I kept the bottle until I could no longer smell the residue inside it.

I got another Hello Kitty perfume pendant recently. It didn't look the same as the one I had before. This one was a narrow, thick heart with a clear sticker of Hello Kitty holding a heart. The one I had before was a wider, flatter heart with a pink heart-shaped sticker with Hello Kitty's face in the middle. I guessed the perfume inside would be the same. It isn't. I don't know if that's because the formula changed when the design did or if it aged inside the bottle.

This pendant, like the others, comes on a chain on a card with a hole punched at the the top so it can hang from a retail display. In its package, it blends in with erasers and sticker rolls and other tiny easy-to-grab stationery items. The card is red. It has a picture of Hello Kitty with three teddy bears (Tiny Chum?). The latest copyright year is 1993. The bottle is fairly thick, slightly yellowish (from age?) clear plastic with a metal cap that looks like half a medicine capsule. As with the pendant I used to have, the stopper is separate from the cap. The cap is useless for preventing vaporization, as I found out the hard way, so if you get one of these guys you gotta be careful not to lose or break that stopper.

The perfume in this pendant is a grapefruit-heavy rose floral. It's good at being one, too. It could have been sold in department stores during the fresh pink floral craze of the oughts (think Clarins Par Amour Toujour and Dior Addict 2) with no-one being the wiser. My memory is more floral. This is more citrus. Much more citrus. The note proportions are linear, but it softens as it dries down. The bottle wears the perfume better than my skin does. The neck of it has a candied floral note that just barely shows up when I wear it. This is the part that most makes me wonder if the perfume is the same formula having aged. If it is the same, it aged laterally. It smells fresh both in character and in the sense of being new.

I don't dislike this perfume or the pendant it's in (I like this one's sticker better, actually), but it isn't what I wanted. I'm going to have to keep haunting the secondhand market in search of the pink heart variant, fighting it out with Sanrio diehards if the exact one reappears. And I will probably lose the fight. Sanrio diehards die very, very hard. And if I win, and it turns out that time turned the original formula into something I just don't like as much? That'd suck. But at least I'd know.